The Path With a Future

I have myself felt suicidal – felt trapped and hopeless and without a shred of a future.


At that time, I was stuck in a decaying marriage, working two shitty dead-end jobs, trapped by poverty with my physically and emotionally violent then-wife in a building we called Domestic Abuse Central because getting drunk and beating the shit out of their wives, husbands, kids, partners and each other is all our neighbors ever seemed to do. I had been forced to abandon my dream of being an actor, had been kicked out of a band I’d help form, and we were constantly overdrawing our bank account. My friends were moving away, my body was falling apart from stress and violence, my student loans were piling up and I lacked the funds to pay them, and my paycheck was spent soon after I deposited it… sometimes – thanks to overdraft fees – before I even got it. I felt so hopeless and frustrated and full of rage that I was in brawls several times a month, and one night I almost decked my wife and became everything I despised. After my then-boss “convinced” a doctor to make all evidence of a workplace injury – one that pains me to this day – “disappear” so my employer could dodge a lawsuit and refuse to pay me for the time that doctor told me to take off from work, I found myself seriously stepping into traffic hoping someone would hit me and end my misery.

That was 25 years ago.

And if I HAD given in, if I had been hit by a car, if I had gotten what I thought I wanted back then, you would never have heard of me, and none of the hundreds of books, stories, essays, articles, blogs and games I have published since those days – and more importantly, all the lives that have been influenced, changed, and I’m told even saved by that work – would never have existed as they do.

I understand despair. I have felt it many times in my life. Sometimes I still do. I tell ya, man, after I left White Wolf in 1999 and wound up unable to write for over a year, wearing a fucking polyester apron at a fucking $6.25-an-hour job at MediaPlay, and wondering if I had just HAD my moment and it was gonna be all downhill from there, I felt like that again.

THAT was 16 years ago.

My friend, your choice is yours to make. No one else can make it for you.

But if you make a choice that can never be undone, you’ll never know what MIGHT have been if you had chosen differently.

And neither will the rest of the world – a world you might have changed if you had chosen differently.

Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide.

Me, I vote for you choosing to live.

I’m sure as hell glad I did.



PS: Thank you for speaking up and reaching out. I’m glad you spoke up about your pain in public now, rather than let the rest of the world know about it when it was too late to help you.

Like I said, I hope you choose the path with a future.


(This post was a comment I had left for a friend who had announced that he is contemplating suicide. I thought maybe it might help other people too, so if you want, please feel free to share and/ or link this post.)

About Satyr

Award-winning fantasy author, game-designer, and all 'round creative malcontent. Creator of a whole bunch of stuff, most notably the series Mage: The Ascension, Deliria: Faerie Tales for a New Millennium, and Powerchords: Music, Magic & Urban Fantasy. Lives in Seattle. Hates shoes. Loves cats. Dances a lot.
This entry was posted in Bio & Interviews, Politics & Society, Sex & Gender, Spirituality & Reflection. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Path With a Future

  1. Nora Rivkis says:

    My father had a harsh but effective way of dealing with an emotionally intense teenager (even for a teenager): he turned the typical things parents fear their teenage children doing into grounds for mockery.

    Not when I was in or near them — for example, if I’d turned up pregnant, he would’ve been calm and warm and not mocking in the least, and worked with me to figure out what I wanted and how to accomplish that, in a totally supportive fashion. I have no doubt that if I’d ever mentioned contemplating suicide, he would have been equally supportive.

    But long before I ever reached a point where these things were a possibility, he vaccinated me against the thought by making them seem ridiculous — something no adolescent, especially a particularly intense one, ever wants to seem.

    One of his witticisms ran along lines very similar to this: he liked to refer to suicide as “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

    I was never a serious suicide risk; I fear death too much. On the very rare occasions I find myself even toying with the idea, I don’t take that as a sign that perhaps I ought to die; I take it as a sign that I damn well ought to get myself major league psychological help NOW. So it’s never been a serious problem for me.

    But I remember when it was a serious problem for someone I cared about. They were spending the night at my house, and stayed up late talking to me about their feelings of wanting to die. I talked gently to them and eventually they decided at least that this wasn’t the right time, and went to sleep.

    The next morning, we woke up to find that the world was white. It had snowed overnight, and everything outdoors was pristine and beautiful.

    My friend danced around in the snow, totally happy, and I told them, “STOP. Think about this — lock this moment and these feelings into your brain. This experience, this joy, is all something you would never have had if you had died last night the way you wanted to. Never. THAT is the reason not to die even when you want to — because you never know when the next moment like this one will come, but you *can* know that if you’re dead you won’t be there for it. If you’re alive, it might come in years or it might come the very next morning the way it did this time, but you’ll be *here* for it when it does. Remember this, when you’re questioning if staying alive is worth it. This is what you’re doing it for.”

    They did as I suggested, and I’ve been told that it’s helped them a few times since. I’m truly glad that I had the opportunity to demonstrate the point so effectively… but really, all I did was give them the less-mocking version of “It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

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